Ben Civjan

The Outsiders/Hero's Journey Essay

My Essay Reflection

The difference between my writing at the beginning of the year and now is very different. My writing at the beginning of the year was somewhat good, however I don't feel like I could go deeply into texts, nearly as much as I can now.

I would consider my writing strengths informative essay, where I do research on a thing or book, and write an essay on it.  I am not great at personal narratives, however I am pretty good at persuasive essays.  But all in all, informative essays are probably my strength

I think I need and I want to develop all my skills.  But especially I think I could expand on my elaboration/commentary and develop my ideas more.

What I liked best about reading the book and doing the assignment was the interesting and exciting parts of it.  The book is an amazing book, and even though I'd read it before, it was still great.  I love how complex and realistic it is.  The assignment was fun because we compared it to the Hero's Journey, which gave me a new outlook on the book.

The Outsiders/Hero’s Journey Ben Civjan

5/5/14 Period 1

When someone envisions a hero, they usually think of a person with superpowers, like Spiderman or Superman.  They could also think of someone from a myth, or something else to that matter.  These heroes battle evil, fight for justice, and save lives.  They get attention through media, and the heroic acts they do.  There are more common heroes, though.  They don’t have superpowers, don’t have costumes, and have no great fame.  Heroes like Ponyboy Curtis, from The Outsiders, who goes on a Hero’s Journey.  He does not fight evil or injustice, but instead, returns with a gift.  In the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, the main character Ponyboy Curtis goes on a Hero’s Journey because he travels through the three required phases of a monomyth.

Ponyboy experiences The Separation from the Known when he and Johnny run away, get jumped by Socs, and Johnny kills one of them to save Pony, which forces them to hide outside of town.  Johnny kills one of the Socs, to save Pony from drowning.  When Pony gets out of the water, Johnny says… “I killed him [...] I killed that boy” (56).  In the Hero’s Journey, The Separation from the Known is when the hero leaves the known and the comfortable.  He experiences a sudden traumatic change that forces him into action.  He will often encounter helpers that support and provide assistance to him.  In The Outsiders, Pony and Johnny run away because Darry slaps him.  They run to the park, but when the Socs start to come towards them, they know they are in trouble.  They think about running, but then decide against it.  One of the Socs grabs Pony and starts to drown him.  Johnny stabs and kills him.  This is a sudden, traumatic change.  It was not planned making it very sudden, and killing someone is traumatic because they immediately turn into a criminal and the guilt of killing someone stays with you the rest of your life.  Pony and Johnny feel they must run away.  They go to Dally, who is a helper/guardian, and receive a gun, money, warmer clothes, and a plan.  They run away to a church out in the country, and reach the unknown.  This is the separation from the known.  

Ponyboy experiences the initiation when he and Johnny go to the church and start experiencing the unknown, which causes Pony to break down and cry because he does not know what to do. When Pony and Johnny are at the church, they talk about what happened the night before.  Pony suddenly blurts out, “‘Whatta we gonna do?’ I was crying by then. It was getting dark and I was cold and lonesome” (74).  In the Hero’s Journey, the first part of The Initiation is when the hero journeys into a physical and/or psychological unknown.  In The Outsiders, Ponyboy is upset about the situation they are in.  He does not know what to do, which is why he breaks down and cries.  This shows that he is in an unknown.  It is physical, being that they are in the country, where he has never been.  He has lived his entire life in the city, and the country looks different, has a different atmosphere, and has different people.  He has also reached a psychological unknown, because he has never been a wanted criminal.  He has gone from a Greaser to a criminal, and an outsider to an outlaw.  This shows how he is in a physical and psychological unknown.  

Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when he reaches the abyss.  This occurred when the doctor tells Pony that Johnny is going to die, or when Pony realizes he could get sent to a Boys’ Home.  When Pony goes to the doctor to visit Johnny, he wants to learn how he is doing.  When the doctor finally tells him, he learns his worst fear might come true.  “If he lived...If?  Please, no, I thought.  Please not ‘if’” (102).  In the newspaper it said in the last line that Pony and Soda should not get sent to a Boys’ Home.  This shows Pony the possibility of one of his worst fears happening.  “The meaning of the last line finally hit me.  ‘You mean...’ - I swallowed hard - ‘that they’re thinking about putting me and Soda in a Boy’s Home or something?” (108).  In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a low point where he must do battle with his greatest internal or external fear.  The fear must die down to make way for courage, enlightenment, and independence.  Then the hero changes the way he views life and learns to join with his new self.  In The Outsiders, during these two instances, Pony experiences some of his worst fears.  Pony and the rest of the gang are extremely attached to Johnny.  This is true for Pony and his brothers, because they lost their parents several months before, and Dally, because he has nothing to love.  This makes it really hard for them to experience his loss.  This makes it one of their biggest fears.  Also, when Pony reads the article in the paper, the truth about him getting sent to a Boys’ Home hits him.  He loves his brothers, but he has a complex relationship with his oldest brother, Darry.  They fought a lot before, but now they are just starting to understand each other.  If he were to be separated from them, it would be devastating.  This is why he reaches the Abyss.

Ponyboy experiences The Return to Everyday Life when he wakes up from being sick and delirious.  When Pony isn’t doing well in school, especially in English, so he writes a theme to help his grade.  When he is writing the theme, he is thinking about Johnny and Dally, and how he will tell the world about him.  “One week had taken all 3 of them.  And I decided I could tell people, beginning with my English teacher” (180).  In the Hero’s Journey, The Return to Everyday Life is when the hero must return to to his life before the journey.  The hero gives a gift, knowledge or wisdom, and focuses on helping people.  In The Outsiders, Pony goes through the last part of the Hero’s Journey.  He literally returns to everyday life when he passes out from exhaustion and sickness, then wakes up a couple days later.  He gives his gift in the form of a book, The Outsiders.  This will give people wisdom and knowledge about where he lives.  He wants to tell kids like Dally that there is good in the world, and you should embrace it.  It will also tell them how different places are, and how important love and friendship is.  This is the definition of the gift.

In conclusion, Ponyboy Curtis, from the realistic fiction novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, goes on a Hero’s Journey because he travels through the three phases of a monomyth.  Ponyboy goes with Johnny to the park, and they get jumped.  Johnny kills one of the Socs, causing them to take action.  Then they go to the church and experience unknown.  Then Pony experiences an abyss, either when Johnny is about to die or when he learns he could get sent to a Boy’s Home.  Then he returns to everyday life with a gift, which is The Outsiders, which he writes.  Superheroes, like Thor or the Hulk, are not common.  But heroes like Ponyboy Curtis are common, and he didn’t need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to be one.  It can really be taken by anyone, and after passing through the challenges, can give a gift that benefits everyone.  

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